Oh why, oh why can’t I ever finish a single thought?! I have a couple theories.
1. Every idea is golden
This is a straight up fallacy that a lot of people share. Especially the creative and artistic type. New ideas come through every minute. I can easily switch between reading about literal rocket science to how beer is made, then find some odd pattern somewhere, then get an idea to design an trick taking game where astronauts take tricks from 99 bottles of beer in a rocket ascending into space. There! New awesome idea. Yeah… No. The feeling that an idea is unique and fresh is the illusion that it’s golden. Like everything else it starts out unpolished. Time and effort and energy need to be put in to buff that bitch to a high gloss shine. And even then you may buff out the surface before getting that sweet smooth finish. I say every idea is like an egg. Incubate and foster it and it may grow up to be that golden goose you’ve been looking for.
2. Nothing’s ever good enough
The evil twin of the first point, ‘nothing is ever good enough’ may come from a lack of confidence in oneself. Or maybe just a lack of persistence to see something through to the end. Early adopters of ideas have a difficult situation. Move from flower to flower as each new opportunity blooms, or stay on something until something better comes along. Well, that latter part is the persistence issue I’m talking about. In my younger days I was that guy. Doing the new cool thing until I found something “newer” and “cooler”, apparently. Never staying on one thing long enough to see it through. And when I did, I had too many things on my plate. Now I’m in my late 30s and STILL doing the same shit. Lucky for me life filled in a lot of the gaps so I only have limited space for the things I love. I now have a huge appreciation for those that play the long game to better hone their skills and deepen their interests.
3. Time is on your side
Oh, the creator and destroyer of everything. Managing time is key as one gets older. Life, as I’ve mentioned, fills in a lot of slots leaving the bare minimum of free choice – for the lot of us who don’t have exorbitant amounts of money – and it’s necessary to get your act together or you’ll be spinning wheels for a long time. And when you’re in your late 40s you look back and realize SOOOO much time had been wasted. I’ve learned to slow down and “make” time to do the things I like at no cost to my obligations. Family, friends, work, food, sleep, commuting (for some). These things munch up a lot of the 18 waking hours we have on the average week day. As I say to my 6 yr old son all the time, “sometimes you gotta do the things you don’t want to do to get to the things you do want to do. So eat your dinner. I don’t care if you don’t like it!” My parents channeling though me, I suppose.
4. Blast from the past
Ever had an idea for something you have been fiddling or fumbling with for some time, but then left it alone? Yeah. I’m like that ALL the time. More so with my creative story writing and board game designs. That hurdle you just can’t get past. Can’t seem to see the forest through the trees. It’s hard to realise something when you’re too close to recognise its use. Jumping from game idea to game idea works well for me because I’ve done it so naturally with a lot of other things in my life. Sleeping on it sometimes help. Refocus by no focusing at all also works. Sometimes those treasures lie in another box you haven’t opened yet. Moving around helps keep things moving, keeps the gears lubricated. I’ll usually burn hard and deep on an idea until I feel myself reaching and manipulating answers just to fill in gaps. Best to stop there. If it’s not intuitively or mathematically apparent then you might just be bogging up a good idea. Why be convoluted when you can be clear and concluded.
5. Leggo my Eggo, I mean Ego
That big balloon of gas we all call ego. Speaking to some I’ve heard that ego is ultimately a bad thing and not necessary for people to better themselves. I look at it as a supplement. Not like drugs or anything, but I guess you can relate it to that. A self esteem enhancer so to speak. A steroid. I understand the ego’s plight and we can all agree there is a fine line. The key is to stay humble while being close enough to that line that you can dabble in its head swelling greatness. ‘Everything is good’ so it’s on to the next pasture, even though it’s sometimes clear to everyone else this effort is half-assed at best. Toiling and tinkering away is not the egoists. Though one of the many facets of egoism is obsession. Well, that’s when good ole OCD comes out the play, but we’re not talking about that. Lack of ego groups you in point #2. Too much ego groups you with point #1. How does one balance the scales? Self reflection, honest feedback and accepting failure is a start.
Failure is a catalyst to greater things, and a little humble pie does the body good.
I started this blog a month ago with a title and the first line. I had so much running through my head I wasn’t able to get it all out in words. As of this posting I sat for 20 mins and just dumped it all out in one go. No re-read, no skim and edit, no restructure. I wanted it to be a reflection of some of the things I’m sharing about myself and how I view my work ethic and creative process. A lecture based on self reflection. Excuse the grammatical hiccups I’m sure this post is laden with.
Hopefully some of you might find a nugget or two of truth here and realise you’re not alone. Stop. Breathe. Play a video game. Hug someone you love. Eat, sleep, take a long hot shower. Then sit down at your place of creative expression and just let it all out. Feels good, doesn’t it?